New this week on video
Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams play a free-spirited married couple whose marriage is threatened by McAdams’ memory loss in the romantic comedy “The Vow.”
Updated: May 8, 2012 9:36AM
NEW THIS WEEK
THE BIG HEAT ★ ★ ★ 1/2
Rated: No MPAA rating
Stars: Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin, Gloria Grahame
A tough crime-noir that pulls no punches in its expose of police corruption, this1953 classic, now out on Blu-ray, benefits greatly from the emotional intensity director Fritz Lang wrests from the scenario and from a remarkably hard-boiled performance by Ford as an honest detective investigating the suicide of a fellow cop mixed up with a ruthless crime lord. But the only thing anyone really remembers about “The Big Heat” is sadistic thug Marvin disfiguring showgirl Grahame by tossing scalding coffee in her eyes. Well, that’s one way to get noticed.
THE V OW★ ★
Rated: PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language
Stars: Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Jessica Lange
No surprises here, ladies. But the last thing you want in a rom-com is a nasty surprise, right? “The Vow” is a straight-ahead cutesy romantic soap opera. When a car crash wipes out her memory of laid-back musician hubby Tatum, free-spirited artist McAdams gets a second chance at the stuffy, upper-crust, Lake Forest lifestyle she previously rejected. Her spouse then decides to woo her all over again. Satisfactorily swoon-worthy, perhaps, but also seriously dull.
CLUE LESS★ ★ ★ 1/2Rating: PG-13 for sex related dialogue and some teen use of alcohol and drugs
Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy
After taking time out for the “Look Who’s Talking” comedies, writer-director Amy Heckerling (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) returned to high school for this charming, good-spirited 1995 romantic comedy based on Jane Austen’s “Emma” — featuring a star-making performance by Alicia Silverstone as a rich, kind-hearted, not-so-dumb Beverly Hills blonde dedicated to improving the world through romance. Extras on the Blu-ray debut include a “Clue or False” trivia game.
H AYWIRE★ ★ ★
Rated: R for some violence
Stars: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender
Director Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion”) can’t help getting flashily cinematic from time to time, but “Haywire” still delivers the adrenaline-pumping goods. That’s mostly thanks to mixed-martial-arts fighter Carano, playing a betrayed black-ops mercenary looking for payback. Her acting is so-so, but she clearly could kick the behind of anyone in the cast.
COLD WAR: THE COMPLETE SERIES
This six-disc set features all 24 episodes of the CNN documentary series detailing the history of the cold war between the United States and the U.S.S.R. following World War II. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh. Extras include the Academy Award-nominated 1953 propaganda film “The Hoaxters,” offering a short history of Russian communism and its danger to the American way of life.
ELVIRA’S MOVIE MACABRE: WILD WOMEN
This double-disc set features four vintage classics introduced by Mistress of the Dark Elvira (Cassandra Peterson): “Untamed Women” (1952), “Hercules and the Captive Women” (1961), “The Wild Women of Wongo” (1958) and “The Wasp Woman” (1959). Extras include behind-the-scenes footage and an Elvira music video.
FRONTLINE: INSIDE JAPAN ’S NUCLEAR MELTDOWN
A year after the crisis of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, this “Frontline” documentary explores the causes of the meltdown and the steps taken to contain it.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz’s disturbing examination of cultural and racial hostilities in 1990s France (featuring a star-making performance from Vincent Cassel) gets the Criterion Collection treatment. Extras include a restored high-definition transfer, an introduction by actress Jodie Foster, a documentary bringing the cast and crew together after 10 years, production footage and deleted and extended scenes.
SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D
A group of Japanese teens take a friend who has mysteriously returned after a long absence to a hospital, only to become trapped there in a horrific maze. Takashi Shimizu (“The Grudge”) directed the horror, Japan ’s first live-action digital-3D feature.
TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE
Two friends (the Webby Award-winning comedy team of Tim Weidecker and Eric Wareheim) are given a billion dollars to make a movie — that doesn’t work out entirely as they hoped. Weidecker and Wareheim also wrote and directed the comedy. Rated R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, comic violence and drug use.
In the latest installment in the “Underworld” action/fantasy franchise, human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans and attempt to eradicate both, resulting in payback from Vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale). Rated R for strong violence and gore, and for some language.
Glenn Close was nominated for an Oscar for her cross-dressing turn as the title character in “Albert Nobbs.” Also, John Malkovich considers a career in puppetry in “Being John Malkovich” and Liam Neeson shows wild wolves a thing or two about macho in “The Grey.”